A bill that would create consumer protections for tenants who choose to pay a monthly fee instead of a security deposit passed the Senate Friday and is now headed to Ron DeSantis’ desk.
Sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Mooney, the proposal (HB 133) would grant landlords the option to charge a nonrefundable monthly fee in lieu of a security deposit. The bill would also require all terms of the security deposit alternative to be disclaimed upfront.
Mooney’s bill would also require landlords to permit tenants to end the monthly fee agreement at any point in the lease and pay the security deposit instead.
Republican Sen. Nick DiCeglie carried the companion bill (SB 494). That was laid on the table in exchange for the House version, which passed three committee stops of its own.
The bill would allow renters to avoid paying a security deposit, which is often equivalent to a month’s rent. Supporters say it lowers the financial burden for tenants who could afford rent but do not have enough money saved to cover first and last month’s rent plus a deposit.
Affordable housing advocates have criticized fee alternatives as anti-consumer, noting that, unlike security deposits, they are nonrefundable and would not be used to offset property damage.
Security deposit alternatives have become more popular as rents continue to rise in Florida and the nation. Companies such as Assurant, LeaseLock, Rhino, Obligo and Jetty all offer security deposit alternatives that range in price and terms, but typically cost a fraction of a security deposit.
Some work only with landlords; others work directly with tenants and also with landlords. Some companies screen tenants individually; others rely on landlord screening. Some companies charge a monthly fee; others charge a single upfront fee.
A LeaseLock representative told Florida Politics last year that the average rent of the properties it covers is $1,500 a month. The monthly fee for a property at that price point is $25 — or $300 over the course of a 12-month lease.
Publix cashier with five roommates Ed👍
April 29, 2023 at 3:57 pm
Landlords gouge peoples eyes out in this state and the government does very little. Many counties shun public housing or real affordable housing. It is seen as a big part of the economy and a big grift for so many. All one has to do is own three houses and rent them to the right people.. and they don’t have to work if they don’t want to. Other people work to feed one hog’s fat azz. Isn’t that convenient.
May 2, 2023 at 4:04 pm
Landlords have to pay high taxes, interest and insurance. Buy a property if you think it’s so profitable. If you want to lower your rent, talk to your local property tax Appraiser, or move to another state.
May 2, 2023 at 6:37 pm
As a small time landlord and since this optional, I will not be doing it unless market forces make me.
A tenant can do a lot of damage that this “fee” will not cover, and after dealing with the insurance on Ian, I don’t want the extra headache trying to get paid and repair my property.
This was nothing more than further grift to the insurance companies and large RE apartment companies.
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